EMP Talks Business with Deborah Nankivell

Written by: Bernhard Shiveley

This Friday the Entrepreneur Mentor Program had the pleasure of Deborah Nankivell speaking to our group about the importance of the revitalization of Fresno. Since 1993, Deborah has been the CEO of the Fresno Business Council, a nonprofit organization made up of business, academic and civic leaders committed to using the skills and resources of all sectors to improve critical aspects of the community. Prior to moving to California, Deborah was the executive director of Common Cause Minnesota for nearly ten years. For three years, Deborah served as a consultant for Community Intervention, an organization that provided tools to community leaders to systemically address addiction issues. Her passion and enthusiasm for social change is infectious and is spread to everyone she engages.

A main theme in Ms. Nankivell’s presentation was the importance of good teamwork. She emphasized the need for a group of people who share the same ideas and aspirations to work together. She explained how a team is a necessary component for a successful business, and it is impossible for the majority of work to be put on just one or two people. An insight Deborah shared “The ideas that change the world can come from one person. The requirements that need to be met to experience change comes from the team surrounding you.” She believes in treating your group professionally but at the same time like family. Doing this allows every member to feel comfortable to attack any problem the group may face.

Another insight Ms. Nankivell shared with our group is to be the change we want to see, and never wait around to see if someone is going to do it before you. She said self-doubt is one of the greatest challenges a person of business can face. Some decisions require full confidence and passion and doubt creates hesitation and hinders decision making. She explains the only thing holding you back is yourself. “You cannot be afraid to make big decisions when the time comes and you need to stick with your team and get them on the same page as you.”

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